Monthly Archives: March 2011

Sudden Moves: A Young Adult Mystery by Kelli Sue Landon

Sudden MovesReviewed by Stephanie Nordkap

Michelle Martin grows suspicious when her friend, Katie Brashers, isn’t in attendance at school after a trip to Florida after Spring Break. The police and adult don’t see anything suspicious in Katie’s disappearance, especially considering Katie’s mother was known to have been flirtatious and people just assumed she must have run off with some man. Having lent Katie a special book given her by her grandmother however, and not having said good-bye to her friends and boyfriend, Michelle teams up with her best friend, Tami, and Katie’s boyfriend, Brad, to seek out the truth the Katie’s disappearance. Dodging a demanding mother, the threesome started their own investigation by talking to neighbours, and looking inside Katie’s house. With clues leading into one dead-end after another, Michelle is about to give up when her dog helps her find the most important clue of all and leads her into danger she doesn’t suspect and circumstances beyond what she would ever expect.

Michelle Martin was an engaging young lady whom I really enjoyed as a main character. I really liked her tenaciousness and passive/aggressiveness in trying to find clues that would lead her to find her friend Katie. I also liked her vulnerability with regards to her relationship with her mother, someone whom I really did not like, nor did I really relate to at all. It would be very difficult to deal with someone who has these unpredictable mood swings all of the time, and she handle the situations with maturity and grace. When Michelle finally stood up for herself at dinner one night, I really liked how the author handled the scene as she didn’t lower it to one of Michelle acting like a young child, but allowed Michelle to handle her mother with great aplomb and maturity. I also really liked Mr. Nichols and found him hilarious. He is one of those older people who are retired and don’t have a lot to do, but certainly tend to notice everyone around them. He would have a lot to say about life and I found him terribly interesting. My only concern with the character development is the relationship between Katie and Michelle as I didn’t really feel like there was any bonding between them, like there was a caring relationship. I felt the only reason Michelle wanted to find Katie was to get her book back and that is really no reason for someone to go to all this trouble. It created some confusion as I didn’t fully believe that Michelle’s reasons for looking for Katie were altruistic.

Dead by Midnight (Death on Demand Mysteries) by Carolyn Hart

Dead by Midnight
Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

Dead by Midnight is the twenty-first book in the Death on Demand series. How can an author write so many books in a series and still manage to keep it all interesting and fresh? Carolyn Hart has the answer to this question and shows the reader she does all of this and more!

Dead by Midnight takes place in Broward Island where Annie lives with her husband Max. Annie runs the Death on Demand mystery bookstore. Death on Demand is not just your local bookstore. Many events take place with authors and members of the community. Annie also runs monthly contests.

Annie hires a new employee, Pat Merridew, who is an acquaintance of her friend, Henny. Pat does not know much about working in a mystery bookstore but is determined to learn and do her best. When Pat does now show up for work, Henny is upset because Annie is left with many things going on that particular day. Henny rushes to Pat’s house to tell her how upset she is about leaving Annie with no help. Much to her horror, she finds Pat dead. The police ruled the death a suicide. Annie does not believe the death is a suicide and is determined to find out the truth.

Thr3e by Ted Dekker

Thr3eReviewed by Joanne Reynolds

Kevin is an extremely smart student at a seminary school in California. His dean, John Francis, is one of his best friends and most cherished advisors.
Kevin in leaving the school and heading home when his cell phone rings and his is told by a raspy-voiced individual to solve a riddle to to confess his sin within three minutes or the car will blow up. Kevin has no idea what is expected of him to confess. He pulls into a Wal-Mart parking lot, away from others, and the car blows up. No one is hurt, even Kevin, but he then becomes headline fodder.

Things progress from there with another phone call with another riddle to solve and his sin to confess.
We learn slowly of Kevin’s rather abnormal childhood and the fact that he grew up with his aunt, uncle and retarded cousin after the death of his parents when he was one. We learn about Samantha (Sam) who becomes his friend, under circumstances that are not of the norm.

The FBI becomes involved in the persona of Jennifer, who has just lost her brother to murder by the “Riddle Killer”. The circumstances of Kevin’s situation and that of Jennifer’s brother, Roy, are very close in the way that they are done. Jennifer has thoughts that this may be the same person, so she is very drawn to the case. She is also very drawn to Kevin.

Heat Lightning by John Sandford

Heat LightningReviewed by Allen Hott

An interesting cop novel again starring Virgil Flowers, one of John Sandford’s favorite characters. With these stories by Sandford there is not a lot of mystery as normally the killer is known fairly early on but Virgil’s job is to not only catch him but to catch him before being killed by him. If and when he finds him, that is!

Virgil normally works in the northern Midwest as a freelance operator for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Heat Lightning is set in Minnesota and in the midst of a hot, humid summer with plenty of heat lightning. Virgil is called into a case where victims are turning up shot to death and placed at various Veterans’ Memorial sites. Also they all have had a piece of lemon stuck in their mouths.

Shortly into the investigation Virgil finds a tie-in with veterans’ organizations and the fact that several of the victims attended these together on various occasions. There appears to have been an incident in Viet Nam many years ago when a group of American mercenary type soldiers were involved in a terrible killing and rape.

The first two victims that were killed in the attacks that Virgil is investigating were part of that crew of soldiers. He has to find who and where are the rest of the gang and who is responsible for chasing them down in the states. Before he can get too far along however several others are killed and all links again appear to point back to Viet Nam.

Leaving Yesterday by Kathryn Cushman

Leaving YesterdayReviewed by Jane Quires

This is a power packed book. I highly recommend it to all. I found myself weeping for joy at the end. This is a story that grips you and causes you to want to be there for others. It also shows that sometimes one may not understand what a person is going through or why they do the things they do.

Alisa loses one son to death, which sets off many problems in the home. I know first hand how young people trying to find themselves can affect the whole family. A God of second chances is revealed. There is a mother who loves her son unconditionally and will do whatever it takes to protect him but finally has to come to grips with having to make a hard choice. Forgiveness, renewal, pretension by Christians who wear masks, and much more is revealed.

Tick Tock by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Review #2)

Tick TockReviewed by Patricia Reid

Mike Bennett, his ten children, his grandfather Seamus along with Mary Catherine the children’s Irish nanny head for Breezy Point in Queens to enjoy a two-week vacation. Mike’s wife is deceased and Seamus, who is a priest, and Mary Catherine do a wonderful job helping Mike hold the family together.

Meanwhile back in New York City a mad bomber has left a bomb at the main branch of the New York City Public library. Mike’s boss Inspector Miriam Schwartz calls Mike back to duty. Father Seamus and Mary Catherine remain at Breezy Point to continue the long planned vacation and Mike heads back to the city hoping to solve the crime immediately and return to his vacation.

However, the mastermind behind the bombing has much more devastation in mind. He seems to be copying killers from the past such as George Metesky, the Mad Bomber, Son of Sam and even the Brooklyn Vampire Albert Fish. FBI Agent Emily Parker comes to New York to help track down the person or persons behind the horrible crimes.

Mike tries to commute back and forth between the city and his vacationing family but finds that all is not well on the vacation front either. The Flaherty’s, a family with an Irish mafia background, are bullying Mike’s children. Mike and Father Seamus find it necessary to step in and settle the matter.

The Take by Mike Dennis

The TakeReviewed by Patricia Reid

Eddie Ryan is a small time bookie and not a very good one at that. Eddie violated the first rule for bookies and that is never let the betting get too one-sided. World Series betting got Eddie in a world of trouble with no way to pay off the bets.

Eddie takes his troubles to Raymond Cannetta, a loan shark, who agrees to lend Eddie the money he needs but Cannetta’s repayment plan is one that is very difficult to meet without missing a payment here and there. Cannetta’s repayment plan does not allow for missed payments.

Eddie’s buddy Val Borden devises a plan where the two will rob Chico Salazar, a local drug dealer. The two manage to pull off the robbery but it doesn’t go as planned. Chico is hurt very badly and now the gang’s after the robbers. The future isn’t looking good for Eddie or Val but Felina, the beautiful woman who lives with Val, decides that she is sick of Val and proposes that Eddie take her somewhere safe where they can enjoy the proceeds of the robbery.

The Bone Thief by Jefferson Bass (Review #2)

The Bone ThiefReviewed by Patricia Reid

When Burton DeVreiss, Attorney, contacted Dr. Bill Brockton it was to inform Brockton that he had obtained an order to exhume the body of Trey Willoughby to obtain a DNA sample to be used as proof of paternity. Dr. Brockton and his assistant Miranda were shocked when the body was exhumed and the silk suit worn by the deceased was cut open. Trey Willoughby’s arms had been removed and the sleeves filled with white PVC pipe.

This is just one of the many puzzles presented by this fifth book in the series. Burton DeVreiss had been involved with Dr. Brockton in an earlier book in the series where a funeral home was negligent in handling the bodies that were entrusted to the home for proper burial or cremation. Now it looks as though another funeral home is going to be under investigation.

Dr. Brockton, founder of the Body Farm, is contacted by the FBI and requested to go undercover to investigate a black market operation that is selling body parts. The FBI feels that since Brockton has access to so many bodies that are donated to the Body Farm he is the perfect person to infiltrate the operation. This is particularly true since Brockton is facing many budget cuts in his department and the department is in need of funds. Although hesitant at first Brockton finally agrees to go undercover. Not only does the sting operation put Brockton’s reputation on the line Brockton’s life is placed in danger.

Night Road by Kristin Hannah (Review #2)

Night RoadReviewed by Caryn St. Clair

For Lexi Baill, moving to Washington State to live with her Great Aunt was just the latest in a long chain of new beginnings for her. So often disappointed when the moves did not work out, Lexi didn’t want to let herself believe that this time would be any better than the previous moves. But on the very first day of high school, Lexi meets Mia Farraday and her “most popular boy in school” twin brother Zach and things were different. For the first time in her life, Lexi was a part of things. Mia and Zach’s mother was a textbook example of the “helicopter” mom-forever hovering over the twins. While they resented it, for Lexi it was something she’d wanted her entire life-a mom who cared. Mia and Lexi became best friends and although they fought it, Lexi and Zach became romantically involved. Things were great for the threesome almost all of the way through high school. But one night close to graduation, tragedy struck and their lives were forever altered.

This is a fairly standard book for both the author and the genre. Readers know from the beginning that there will be at least one close relationship shattered by some sort of tragedy that changes everything. There is just such an event in Night Road and it is easily predicted as to what is going to happen well before the event occurs. This is what Hannah’s fans expect. It’s how the characters work through the event’s aftermath that is the main story. The characters are forced to dig deep within themselves to find the courage to put the past behind them and go on with life.

Gone with a Handsomer Man by Michael Lee West

Gone with a Handsomer ManReviewed by Julie Moderson

This book wasn’t what I expected it to be. I needed a funny light-hearted delightful book and that is exactly what I got.

Teeny is such a wonderful character that you instantly fall in love with who she is. Her fiancé gives her cooking classes and when the first class is cancelled she comes home to find her fiancé Bing playing naked badminton with two beautiful women and she does what very few women in her situation would do. She climbs a tree and throws peaches and hits them in tender areas. She then finds herself in jail alone and afraid. This is only chapter one. The rest of the book has you laughing and crying at her antics.